Mt Zion - Andrew Brant

Andrew Brant

Writing from Andrew Brant on Woodworking and Craft

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Ceremonial Bowls

This weekend I got very into making ceremonial bowls. I finally felt like I had gotten around the corner in turning and after about six bowls that were really special for Ashley and I, I put a new blade on my bandsaw and cut up as much as I could into blanks.

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I honestly forgot how good a woodslicer resaw blade was. I only have a tiny 10’’ bandsaw, and the old blade had just been used up and was a finer set, skinner blade. After putting on the widest, roughest set resaw blade sold for this machine from Highland Tools I realized I was cutting through my thick blanks like butter. It had been stalling out at about 1.5’’

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I made about 15 blanks, and did them as a batch - drilled the hole for the screw chuck all together, rough turned all tougher. Luckily all this is very dry wood already. It means more sanding to finish it, but for now it means they’ll be pretty much done as soon as I’m done.

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And the end results of everything I put together. I’ll compost the shavings and the wood will be for a barbecue with Ashley when she gets back home

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After a long, long love affair with my old 35mm camera - the same one I used in high school - I started to realize that film wasn’t best suited to me and my medium. So I got a new one. In-process progress shots are hard to shoot and light is never perfect, so I need the leeway to take dozens and dozens until I get what I’m trying to show.

Also, it takes much better videos, and I can still use all the old lenses from my Dad on it with a small adaptor

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This week I also worked on a few different waxes. One recipe that is tougher, and good for furniture tops. Plus another that is 100% food and kid safe, for these ceremonial bowls and kids toys.

What I’m going to offer is this same wax for sale on this website and along with furniture commissions. The one question I always get asked is how to maintain the wood on anything I sell, so I wanted to develop my own formulas that is exactly what my pieces need. Even I get confused in the finishing world, I think this will really give people confidence that when they buy an heirloom piece they can take care of it for decades to come.

I’m still working on making it soft enough to be easy to use by playing with the proportions - but as it is, I love it. I finished all my bowls in a version of it.

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Pollisoirs. What are these, tiny brooms?

Yes, yes they are.

They are tiny brooms wrapped super tight. I got two sizes from a family run broom company, and they are amazing. According to Don Williams at The Barn on White Run . It was in Roubo, but not described very thoroughly. So he had some made and experimented with what they could be used for, and they are amazing.

One thing that really looks good on wood is called ‘Burnishing’. After you sand or scrape or plane down as far as you can go, wood is still a soft, spongy, organic thing underneath. What you can do is press a piece of something hard, like a very smooth metal rod or a piece of bone or even paper bags on it and it will compress the fibers, and give the wood a nice solid look. I’m still not sure what it is, but when you don’t burnish the wood can look a bit grey, especially dark woods like walnut.

The pollisoirs then do exactly that. The one up close is the one I used for bowls - it has longer, looser fibers that are perfect for getting in every nook and cranny of a bowl .

I load it up with the wax I made, and apply to the bowl while it is still on the lathe. This lets me push it in, and let the lathe do the work of moving the piece around. Tada.

It’s like the heavens opened up above me. Like I’ve been missing something for years.

The bowls I made are up for sale on the store. They came out really special, and I really love them. They are sacred objects for holy items.

Andrew Brant